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I was a little disappointed to hear Dr. Keller refer to the cross as Christ paying the debt for “man’s inhumanity to man”. That is *part* of it, but just a small part. Our problem is our rebellion against God.
Good point, Chris. I’m slightly disappointed with Keller’s general lack of focus on our sin against God, or on the fact that hell is God’s ACTIVE pouring out of God’s wrath, not just a separation from Him. The whole idea that sin is it’s own punishment tends to diminish how much of a rebellion and insult it is to the Holy God and how much He hates sin and will punish sin. I think Keller probably has things pretty straight in his head, but words have consequences, and less astute or Biblically-sound people will twist that.
Er-Wasn’t Tim Keller talking to a public that would not understand that our problem is our rebellion towards God? They would understand that “part” of our problem is our inhumanity towards each other. Therefore, if all he has is a sound byte of time, don’t you think it is best for him to utilize his time and talk about what people would understand in the hope that they see Christianity clearer and perhaps move a step closer to actually hearing the gospel fully?
I guess what I am saying is that a TV interview is not the place for a full gospel presentation, but more “pre-evangelism” if anything. Right? Baby steps. In that sense I don’t know if we really need to be that hard on Tim for his interview.
Or maybe Keller was laying a foundation based on something even those outside the faith can understand, after all, he’s constantly going to Luther’s teaching on the 10 Commandments where breaking 2-9 is really about breaking 1. In this case, he went to the second table of the 10 because everyday people get that and it links Jesus’ cross to their lives in a tangible way.
He wasn’t on the show to be interviewed, he was on the show to share Jesus with people who don’t know him, and he did it in a way that makes sense. It was actually quite beautiful.
I can assure you all that Dr. Keller does have it straight in his head – his church preaches sound Christ-centered theology every week. Being on television with limited time, I’m sure it’s hard to say something succinctly that covers the entire Gospel message in a way that lay people can easily understand. For what it’s worth I felt that he represented the Christian faith well in what he said. Of course there’s always more to it than what can be covered in a few minutes’ time and I hope that seeds were planted and people will desire to find more out about God. I can say for certain that Dr. Keller does not believe sin to be solely that which is committed from man to man.
I’m just thrilled that Christianity is being discussed intelligently and positively in the media. This is such a rare occurence, and I’ll take what I can get. Working in media, it’s impossible to get all the “message points” across, but this segment wonderfully highlights the fact that Christians aren’t just a political powers who fight against progress – as it’s commonly portrayed. And for those skeptics of the gospel, this hopefully helps them see that Christianity allows them, welcomes them to engage in intelligent dialogue about our culture.
You guys are right, and if you have listened to or read Keller you know that he would agree with you as well. In a setting like that you have to chose what part of the story to tell. If you start with what though perhaps the central point, but that if reduced to a sound bite will generally be heard as something else, then is it effective. So, if he says propitiating the wrath of God, while absolutely true and even more true than what he said, does it likely get heard incorrectly because it cannot be fleshed out.
So yes, words have consequences, but even correct words in the wrong setting can be a mistake.
Spot on Michael. Thanks for sharing that.
Yes, Keller does this a lot. He kills it in his sermons but tones it down in his public appearances. Mark Driscoll grates on me but he would have used that appearance to mention Jesus at least 20 times.
If you listen to Keller sermons, it is readily apparent that he has a complete understanding of the nature and depth of sin and of the full meaning and purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection.
i’m very disappointed that Keller didn’t preach a detailed exposition of the entire book of Romans
I like Keller’s books and sermons…but Jesus lived like Mother Teresa?…fail. He wiffed an opportunity to intelligently present the Gospel here.